Strong Support For Shetland Box

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP today welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which saw powerful backing for Scotland's fishermen. The vote in the Parliament's Fisheries Committee was on the future of the Shetland Box, an area of protected waters around the north of Scotland.

The Committee, made up of MEPs from around coastal Europe, saw a series of texts tabled by Spanish Conservative and Socialist MEPs defeated by alternatives submitted by Mr Hudghton. The SNP texts highlighted the importance of fishing to the north of
Scotland and called for the protected zone to be retained.

Mr Hudghton commented:

"MEPs from all over Europe have rejected a concerted effort by Spanish politicians for their fishing fleet to gain access to Scotland's northern waters. The vast Spanish fleet marks a threat to coastal communities all around Europe. Colleagues from various countries therefore recognised the importance of the Shetland Box to our fishing communities and voted for restrictions to remain.

"This vote marks an early victory in a continuing battle. The issue will come before the full European Parliament next month and the Spanish MEPs will be lobbying hard to see the decision overturned. However, today's vote sets an important precedent and shows that Scotland's fishermen have sympathisers in other countries.

"The SNP intends to build on this support in the coming weeks. After that it will be up to the Scottish and UK fisheries ministers to fight the case in the European Council - and we urge them to take note of today's important vote when it's their turn to take the fight forward."

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